Trump Russia probe: Mueller has 'thousands' of transition team emails

President Trump talking to media on White House lawnImage copyright Reuters Image caption President Trump has been critical of the investigation and denies any wrongdoing

Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly obtained tens of thousands of emails from President Donald Trump's transition team as part of a probe into the 2016 election.

So far the FBI has charged four people as part of the investigation.

A lawyer from the Trump for America group has alleged the emails were obtained unlawfully from a third party.

A letter he sent to US lawmakers alleges their constitutional rights may have been breached by the disclosure.

The group had been using a government agency, the General Services Administration (GSA), for their offices, equipment and email hosting in the period between Donald Trump's election and his inauguration in 2017.The GSA is reported to have supplied these records to Mueller's investigation team in the summer.

Kory Langhofer, a lawyer for Trump for America, sent a letter to Congress on Saturday complaining that the GSA "did not own or control the records in question".

The letter says the group believe some of these communications should have been redacted because they believe they contain information under privilege.The seven-page letter was published by political news website Politico[1].

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The Former head of the FBI Robert Mueller has been heading up on the collusion probe

Mr Langhofer said Trump for America had separated those emails out in advance of any request to share them, but found out on Tuesday and Wednesday that Mr Mueller's probe had already obtained the emails months ago.

The transition group lawyer is requesting that Congress act to protect future presidential transitions from having "private records misappropriated by government agencies, particularly in the context of sensitive investigations intersecting with political motives".

Others have hit out at claims the emails were obtained unlawfully.Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, said the move was not inappropriate or not even unusual[4] in a widely-shared tweet.

Democratic Representative Eric Saldwell tweeted that the claims were "another attempt to discredit Mueller as his #TrumpRussia probe tightens"[5].

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Media captionPresident Trump renews attack on 'disgraceful' FBI

American news website Axios reported on Saturday that email records from 12 members of the campaign, including President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, had been obtained by the Mueller team.

Reports in US media suggest President Trump's private lawyers are expected to meet Mr Mueller and members of his team next week to discuss the next phases of the investigation.

Earlier this month the president's former national security advisor Michael Flynn became the highest-profile person charged in the probe[6], pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI about meetings with Russia's ambassador weeks before Donald Trump's inauguration.It was revealed he is co-operating with the inquiry's investigation....

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Billy Joe Saunders retains WBO belt after beating David Lemieux in Canada

Billy Joe Saunders

Britain's Billy Joe Saunders outclassed David Lemieux to successfully defend his WBO middleweight title in Quebec.

Saunders, 28, is now undefeated in 26 fights after controlling the bout and winning by unanimous decision.

The Englishman was a convincing winner on all the judges' scorecards - 120-108, 117-111, 118-110 - as he meted out the fourth defeat of Lemieux's career.

The Canadian had won his four bouts since unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin stopped him in 2015.

More to follow...

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Brexit: Theresa May says she 'will not be derailed'

Theresa MayImage copyright Reuters

The prime minister has said the government is "proving the doubters wrong" with its Brexit negotiations.

On Friday, EU leaders agreed talks on the implementation period and future trade could begin the new year.

Writing in two Sunday papers, Theresa May vowed she would "not be derailed" from securing an "ambitious" deal.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has warned the UK cannot mirror EU law in the long term or it would risk becoming a "vassal state".

'Special partnership'

Cabinet ministers are due to discuss their stance on the relationship they want with the EU - the UK's "end state" - in the coming days, but some ministers are thought to favour a closer alignment than that suggested by Mr Johnson.

However, writing in the Sunday Telegraph[1] and Sunday Express[2] Mrs May said:"Amid all the noise, we are getting on with the job."

She said the last 10 days had "marked a watershed" in the Brexit process and that the government would now "begin to build that new, deep and special partnership" with the EU.

"This is the exciting part of the negotiations and there is no limit on our ambition and creativity," she added.

BBC political correspondent Chris Mason said Mrs May had struck a defiant tone in her newspaper columns but that her challenge in 2018 would be to keep her party, and the country, on side as the negotiations continued.

Image copyright EPA

Brexiteer Mr Johnson's comments in a Sunday Times interview[3] echoed those of his fellow Conservative MP Jacob Rees Mogg, who said on Friday the arrangements the EU had proposed for the transition period would make the UK "a vassal"[4] - or subordinate - state of the EU.

The EU's guidelines for phase two of the negotiations[5] say the UK would "continue to participate in the customs union and the single market during the transition" and remain under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Mr Johnson said if the UK ended up being forced to mirror EU laws "we would have gone from being a member state to a vassal state".

He said Mrs May had done "a fantastic job moving us forward in the negotiations" before setting out what he believed the government should seek to get in its future trade deal with the EU.

The UK needs "something new and ambitious, which allows zero tariffs and frictionless trade" but maintains the freedom to "decide our own regulatory framework and own laws", he said.

Death threats

Meanwhile, two Tory peers have warned Mrs May she could face defeats in the House of Lords if the government tried to "bully" its members.

The prime minister suffered her first Commons Brexit defeat[6] earlier this week when MPs -including 11 from her own party - voted to give Parliament a legal guarantee of a vote on the final Brexit deal struck with Brussels.

Following the vote there were calls for the Tory rebels to be deselected by the party and some received death threats.

Tory peers, Baroness Altmann and Baroness Wheatcroft, have written in the Observer[7] that such threats "are worrying symptoms of the toxic atmosphere which has been created in our country".

"Mindful of the monumental importance for future generations of getting Brexit right, the Lords is unlikely to be receptive to bullying over a restricted timetable or vigorous whipping to toe the party line," they added....

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South Africa's ANC party to vote for new leader

A composite showing Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril RamaphosaImage copyright Reuters/AFP Image caption The leading candidates in the race are Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa

South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) is set to vote on who will succeed President Jacob Zuma as its leader.

The main contenders are the country's deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and former cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Zuma's ex-wife.

The leadership battle has caused fierce political infighting, raising fears the party may split before 2019 elections.

Mr Zuma has warned the party is under threat and is at a "crossroads".

The party has been in power since the country transitioned to democracy in 1994 under Nelson Mandela.

More than 5,000 delegates are taking part in the four-day ANC elective conference at the Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

The leadership contest is expected to be a close one, with legal challenges a possibility.The ballot is done in secret and a result is expected later on Sunday.

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Media captionWhat advice should South Africa's ruling party take on board?

President Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, is expected to remain in power until the 2019 national elections.The country limits presidents to two five-year terms.

The 75-year-old has been at the heart of much of the controversy surrounding the ANC party.He currently faces numerous corruption allegations but denies any wrongdoing, having already survived several votes of no confidence in parliament during is presidency.

He is backing his 68-year-old former wife, Ms Dlamini-Zuma, a veteran politician in her own right, who has been critical of the enduring power of white-owned businesses[1].They have been divorced for almost 20 years and had four children together.

A former leader of the women's wing of the ANC, Ms Dlamini-Zuma has served as foreign, home and health minister in government.

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Media captionThe ANC was the party of Nelson Mandela but have people lost faith under Jacob Zuma?

Her economic agenda is very different to main opponent, the country's deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is one of the country's wealthiest men and a former leading trade unionist[2].

Mr Ramaphosa, 65, has spoken out strongly against state corruption and has the backing of the business community.

Recent news that he had a modest lead in the polls was quickly reflected by a rise in the financial markets.

Others in the running for the leadership contest are the ANC's treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, human settlements minister Lindiwe Sisulu, minister Jeff Radebe, former province leader Mathews Phosa and the speaker of South Africa's lower house Baleka Mbete.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mr Zuma is expected to stay as President until the 2019 election, despite the vote

In his final speech as party leader at Saturday's conference opening, Mr Zuma denounced the party's "petty squabbling" during the leadership battle.

Last year's disappointing results for the ANC in local elections, he said, "were a stark reminder that our people are not happy with the state of the ANC".

In the speech he asserted that "theft and corruption" were as prominent in the private sector as they are in government.He added that "being black and successful is being made synonymous to being corrupt".

He lashed out at the media, which he said was not "impartial and fair".He also targeted the judiciary, arguing that the courts should have no role in deciding internal party matters.

The party has overwhelmingly won every victory since 1994, when democratic elections where everyone could vote brought the end to white-minority rule.But it polled only 54% in last year's local elections, its worst result since taking power.

The BBC's Andrew Harding says a question remains whether the ANC is in terminal decline, and what that might mean for South Africa's stability and its future....

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Sydney man charged with being 'economic agent' for North Korea

A man with a blurred face is led away by police officers following his arrestImage copyright AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE HANDOUT Image caption It is the first time anyone has been charged under Australia's Weapons of Mass Destruction Act

A man has been arrested in Sydney for allegedly acting as an economic agent for North Korea, Australian Federal Police (AFP) have said.

Chan Han Choi, 59, has been charged with brokering illegal exports from the country and discussing the supply of weapons of mass destruction.

Police allege he has broken both UN and Australian sanctions.

The case against Mr Chan, who has lived in Australia for more than 30 years, is the first of its kind in the country.

It is the first time anyone has been charged under the country's 1995 Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act.

Police say there was evidence that Mr Chan had been in contact with "high ranking officials in North Korea".

They allege he had brokered services related to North Korea's weapons programme, including the sale of specialist services including ballistic missile technology to foreign entities, in order to generate income for the North Korean regime.

Mr Chan also was charged with brokering the sale of coal from North Korea to groups in Indonesia and Vietnam.He is facing six charges in total after being arrested at his home on Saturday night.

Image copyright AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE HANDOUT Image caption The arrest was made in the Eastwood area of Sydney on Saturday

In a Sunday news conference, police confirmed the man was a naturalised Australian citizen of Korean origin who had been in the country for over 30 years.

They described him as a "loyal agent" who "believed he was acting to serve some higher patriotic purpose".

But police insisted the man's actions did not pose any "direct risk" to Australians, with the actions occurring offshore.

"I know these charges sound alarming.Let me be clear we are not suggesting there are any weapons or missile component that ever came to Australian soil," AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said.

"Any individual who attempts to fly in the face of sanctions cannot and will not go unnoticed in Australia."

Mr Chan could face up to 10 years in prison and has been denied bail.

In October the Australian government said they had received a letter from North Korea urging Canberra to distance itself from the Trump administration[3].

Pyongyang had previously warned that Australia would "not be able to avoid a disaster" if it followed US policies towards Kim Jong-un's regime....

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